March 15, 2010
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Drinking a margarita is also not recommended on my personal weight-loss plan.

Drinking a margarita is also not recommended on my personal weight-loss plan.

I think in a previous note, I mentioned how important ASKing (Always Seeking Knowledge) is. Nowhere does that maxim ring truer than when I jump on the freeway each day and see those ubiquitous 1-800-GET THIN billboards.

Buzzing or crawling (depending on the time of day) past that many billboards littering the 210, 605, 10, 60 and every other Southern California freeway, I marveled at the audacity of the advertising campaign. I mean, advertising is expensive. Somebody was spending a lot of money to get people to call 1-800-GET THIN. I pretty much left it at that. I wasn’t planning any lap band procedures any time soon.

Thankfully, however, Los Angeles Times reporter Michael Hilzik, just doing his job, decided to ASK a few questions, and what a story he told. It turns out, that 1-800-GET THIN links to Suite 106 at 9001 Wilshire Blvd., otherwise known as the Beverly Hills Surgery Center, which has for years also been the business address of TopSurgeons. Both names sound very impressive. Who wouldn’t want to have their lap band done by top surgeons in Beverly Hills!

These TopSurgeons, Hiltzik, reported are the Omidi brothers – Julian, whose medical license was revoked in 2009, and Michael, who was placed on three years’ probation for gross negligence in 2008, according to the Medical Board of California. Oh, and the Omidis formerly operated the Wilshire Boulevard facility as the Almont Ambulatory Surgery Center. Only last summer, Almont lost an important federal certification after inspectors determined there posed “immediate jeopardy to the health and safety” of patients, according the Times.

I’m not going to highlight all the violations listed in the report, you can do that on your own by going on, but suffice it to say, that if you’re considering lap band – major implant surgery to suppress your appetite – you better consider seeking out a few alternative numbers and doctors.

Well, I can’t resist this last morsel of information. According to the Times, Beverly Hills Surgery Center was registered with the county by Thomas C. Cloud on Oct. 15, 2009, at 9001 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 106 (By gosh, that’s the same addressed listed above.) Cloud is a business associate of Julian Omidi, according to legal papers. He also is a former doctor whose license was revoked by the medical board for a second time based in 2001, based on a rash of felony convictions, Hiltzik tell us, including a 1993 conviction for Medi-Cal fraud that earned him a 16-month sentence in state prison.

Why do I mention the above? It goes to the heart of the need to always be ASKing questions. (Thank you, again, Mr. Hiltzik.) Asking helps you define what you want and what others want. Asking will make you a better, more helpful person, and a better, clearer thinker. Asking will save you energy, and perhaps from going down the wrong path. And in the case of 1-800-GET THIN, asking might even make you safer.

I’ll leave you with this anecdote that I believe illustrates my point:

Three sons left home to make their fortunes, and did very well. One day, the three highly competitive brothers got back together to discuss the gifts that they gave their frail and elderly mother.

The first said, “I built a big house for my mother.”

The second said, “I got her a Mercedes with a driver.”

“I’ve got you both beat,” said the third. “You know how mom enjoys the Bible, and know she can’t see very well. I sent her a brown parrot that recites the Bible. It took 20 monks in a monastery 10 years to teach. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000 a year for 10 years for them to train him, but it was worth it. Mom just has to name chapter and verse, and the parrot will start reciting.”

Not long after, the mother sent out letters of thanks to her sons.

To the first she wrote, “Milton, the house you built is so large. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the entire house.”

To the second she wrote, “Monty, I am too old to travel. I stay home all the time, so I never use the Mercedes. And the driver is so rude.”

To the third son, her message was kinder and softer, “Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to know what your mother likes.

“The Chicken was delicious.”

Start ASKing a few more questions. What you learn could change your life!




  1. A Fan of the Bennett's
    March 15th, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Great photo with the margarita

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